Summary: This sin of envy is capable of any evil, even to the point of killing the Son of God to eliminate Him from the competition. We live in a dangerous world because of the potential of this sin. Paul lists it with the worst sins of depravity

We seldom get the whole story on anything. No doubt, most of

us are aware of how the rocks brought back from the moon were

kept in isolation for some time less the contain some organism that

could spread disease for which we have no defense. That made a lot

of sense, and made everyone feel more comfortable about bringing

back to earth that which was unearthly. But what I didn't know

until I read Isaac Asimov is that man was thoughtful enough to be

concerned about taking earth's germs to the moon, and elsewhere,

as well. So at enormous expense the space vessels we have launched

have sterilized. If there is life of any kind out there, man did not

want to be responsible for destroying it with his diseases.

Man, even in his fallen state, is certainly more noble than Satan,

for he did not hesitate to contaminate our planet with the deadly

virus that got him booted out of heaven. He enticed Adam and Eve

to be envious just as he was. He wanted to be like God, and even

better than God, and this envy cost him the loss of all godliness

rather than its acquisition. Satan then deceived Adam and Eve by

saying they could be like God knowing good and evil if they ate the

forbidden fruit. The envied God having what they did not have, and

so they ate, and every since we have lived in an envy infested world.

It is the major plague of all time. It infects more people than

small pox ever did in the past, or that aids does in the present. Yet,

you will have a hard time finding any government spending big

bucks to study it. It is terribly destructive to Christian lives, and the

ministry of the church, but you will have a hard time finding

sermons on this serious issue. You can find sermons on murder, for

most Christians don't murder, and there are plenty of sermons on

all of the Ten Commandments because most Christians do not break

these basic laws of life. But when it comes to envy, you are really

meddling, for there is not likely a Christian anywhere who is not

infected with the virus of envy. We do not like to deal with stuff like

this, for it is not comfortable like dealing with the sins of other

people. All I have to do when I hear about the sins of others is to be

grateful I am not one of those sinners. It gives you a sense of pride

when you can say with the Pharisee, "I thank God I am not as other

men." But envy is not in the same category.

The first thing we need to understand about envy is that it is a

common Christian sin. It is common in non- Christians too, but it

does not go away because one becomes a Christian. These people

that Paul is referring to here are not pagans or Jews, but Christian

men who preach Christ. There is nothing wrong with their message,

but their motive is sinful. It is amazing, for Paul says it is possible to

do the highest things in life with the lowest motives. These good

Christian preachers were motivated by envy, rivalry, and selfish

ambition. Their goal was not the body of Christ being built up, but

their own reputation being built up. They wanted the fame and

glory of Paul, and they were willing to hurt Paul if that would help

them achieve the goal.

In spite of these terrible motives, Paul rejoices because people can

be saved by the Gospel even if those preaching it are jerks. The

message that faith in Jesus Christ can cleanse and free you from sin,

and make you a child of God, is just as true, and just as effective, no

matter what the source. It can come to people by the printed word;

by radio; or television, and it doesn't make any difference what the

motive is of those who spread it. It is not the messenger, but the

message that is the power of God unto salvation. If an atheist sees a

chance to make a quick buck by selling Bibles, those Bibles will be

just as effective as Bible given by the Gideons.

Paul says that it makes no difference how people hear the

Gospel, for faith comes by hearing, and the messenger can be awful

sinner, but the message will still save. Paul is not saying that it is

okay that some Christian preachers are motivated by envy, rivalry,

and selfish ambition. These are sins are that condemned everywhere

in the Bible. Paul is not saying that he enjoyed having Christian

brothers stir up trouble for him, for this would be to confess he was

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